Just when it looked like they would do everything but score, the Africans found the back of the net in the 81st minute to set up a grandstand finish.

Their goal came through the most likely of sources when Chelsea striker Didier Drogba scored after diminutive left back Arthur Boka crossed into the London resident’s path.

It was more than just reward for the Ivory Coast captain who showed a far more robust side to his game than has been evident from his time in England.

Strasbourg defender Boka was also a constant threat with his daring runs and accurate crosses. 

Didier Drogba scores the Elephants'
first ever World Cup goal

The West Africans showed no signs of stage fright as they made their first appearance at the World Cup Finals with plenty of enterprise in moving forward. 

But if the debutants were to learn anything from the opponents who began their 14th World Cup finals it was that it is not about the amount of chances you create, but the amount you convert.

In the first half, Argentina’s strikers showed their clinical skills as Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola both scored to give the their side a 2-0 lead at half time.

Drogba’s Chelsea teammate Crespo underlined his reputation as a world class goal poacher when he punished the Ivorians for ineffectively dealing with a free kick from playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme.

With the ball bouncing in the penalty area, Crespo swooped and sent the ball into the back of the net.

It would have relaxed the large number of Argentinean fans who would have be unnerved by the way their side had been run around by the newcomers. 

It continued after they had conceded, with Bonaventure Kalou and Drogba both going close.

Their best chance of the first half came in the 35th minute when midfielder Keider Keita who found himself one of one with the keeper after Didier Drogba had headed the ball back in to his path only for Roberto Abbondanzieri to snuff out the danger. 

It was this wasteful attitude in front of goal that would eventually cost the Africans dearly.

Saviola repaying coach Pekerman's
faith

Their frustrated fans would still have been cursing their luck when Sevilla striker Saviola added to their woe after he capitalized on a brilliant through ball by Riquelme, who continues to look every bit the maestro in midfield.

The match is also likely to be the catalyst for yet another round of debate about the use of technology in the sport after a 14th minute header from Argentinean defender Roberto Ayala was fumbled by Jean-Jacques Tizie.

What happened next depends on who you believe. The South Americans claimed a goal, the Africans dismissed the suggestion. Replays were inconclusive, but the referees, importantly, ruled no goal.

Watch this space.